There’s no doubting snooker’s growth in Europe in recent years, and one man is taking the sport’s development in Bosnia and Herzegovina into his own hands.
Zijad Redzic is President of the snooker division of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Billiard Association. He is also a qualified WPBSA coach having completed the official course in Gloucester this year. And he runs a renowned snooker academy in Sarajevo called the Union Jack.
“Snooker is very popular and it is growing in Sarajevo,” said Zijad, who spent four years as an amateur pool player before turning his attention to the green baize game. “Three years ago we had only two snooker tables in the city. Now that I organise leagues and the tournaments, we have more than ten tables in all pool clubs in Sarajevo.
“We have two snooker leagues and they have more than 30 licensed players. In Bosnia and Herzegovina there are 100 players and I hope to double that number next season. We get television coverage of snooker on Eurosport Adria with professional commentators like Predrag Vukanovic, Damir Ceronja and Gligor Gligorijevic. We love watching snooker whenever it’s on.
“I am very proud to run the first snooker academy and to be the first snooker coach in my country. When I attended the WPBSA course, my dreams came true when I stood next to legends Steve Davis and Terry Griffiths. I also met the chairman of the WPBSA Jason Ferguson and the Head of Coaching Chris Lovell. I enjoyed the three-day course so much and I was so happy to learn from the best. I was filming almost everything, and every piece of paper that Steve Davis used to explain the basics of the game, I kept. Now those pieces of paper are on the on the walls of my academy.
“We have four tables in the academy. It’s a no smoking area, and without any music or anything to interrupt learning and practising. It has been well supported by the media so awareness is growing. We have a lot of interest from young players who want to learn about snooker and I will be coaching them. One 13-year-old called Orhan Huremagic shows some promise and I hope to see him competing in one of the leagues.”
And Zijad has ambitious hopes for the future of snooker in his homeland. “Next year I will try to organise the Sarajevo Snooker Open tournament for all players in Europe,” he added. “And hopefully within the next two or three years, with some help from World Snooker, we can have a European Tour event here.
“Snooker is the fastest going train in the world and I was lucky to jump on it…and to find a seat for the ride of my life!”
The next WPBSA coaching course is provisionally scheduled for June 2015, for details contact Lisa Bray on 0117 317 8200 or firstname.lastname@example.org